What is it about traveling with my dad that causes me to wake up at ungodly hours of the morning for photo shoots? Oh, wait… it’s not just when he’s around. Why can’t sunrise be later in the morning? I’d sleep better that way.
Anyways, we got up at 5:15am in the hope of shooting Old Faithful during the sunrise. Sunrise wsa slated for about 5:40am and Old Faithful was supposed to erupt at 6am or so. Since it didn’t actually erupt until 6:15, we missed the sunrise, but still caught a bit of early morning light. I’m not sure how the photos turned out, a couple looked decent on the camera’s LCD, but viewing them on the computer when I get a chance will tell me the real story.
After breakfast in the Old Faithful Inn (breakfast buffet is $10.10, a deal for the excellent food they serve). We hit the road, getting to Gibbon Falls in the late morning. A couple people stared at me as if I was insane for the perch I picked out to shoot the waterfalls, and one old lady was worrying so badly that she wanted to help me back over the marginal railing at the edge of the road. Once I made it back over, my parents relayed to me that several people were actually taking pictures of me instead of the waterfall because they thought I was crazy. Oh well, I go where the shot is and it really wasn’t all that dangerous of a spot.
Up the road further was Mammoth Springs, which I was rather unimpressed by, probably because most of the springs were dry. I was expecting a lot more impressive scenery than there was actually there I suppose. A few more miles up the road led us to Gardiner, MT (primarily because my mother wanted to be able to say she’d gone back to Montana; my parents met there while stationed in the Air Force). We ended up stopping along the way for some pictures of bighorn sheep and mountain goats of course. (Are there no antelope here?)
We headed along the northern road of the park next, through the mountains, down some switchbacks towards the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River and the Upper and Lower Falls. Unfortunately, Canyon Rim Drive was closed, so we couldn’t make it to the overlook at the brink of the Lower Falls (over 300 feet tall) but we did make it to the brink of the Upper Falls (a little more than 100 feet tall). We found the view unimpressive… you couldn’t really see the falls from the viewpoints but noticed that across the river there was an overlook. A quick look at the map later and we were back in the cars, headed across the river. A short hike, mostly downhill got us to the observation point where we had a nice uphill climb to look forward to on the way back.
Since we didn’t get to visit the Grand Canyon, and my mom had really been looking forward to that, we drove a few more miles down the road to Artist point, a spot renowned for the number of artists who have come there to paint the canyon and were pleasantly surprised to learn that the lower falls was visible at the end of the canyon. Checking the direction of the sun, I immediately made my decision that this will be my sunrise photo spot for the morning. We’ll see how it turns out.
With that, since it was getting late, we headed south towards Fishing Bridge (and a gas station for the Jeep) where my parents and I split up. They headed east for Michigan so my dad could be back to work on Monday while I’m staying in the park a few more days before heading to Glacier and then back to Michigan so I can take a week or so to take care of my belongings and make my final preparations for moving to Alaska.
So, back north for me, where I shot what should turn out to be a fantastic picture of the sun setting over the mountains being reflected in the lakes of Hayden Valley. A traffic jam caused by a herd of moving buffalo later, I was in a thunderstorm, which was quickly followed by hail. I found a parking lot to pull into and sleep for the night (the entire reason I brought the Jeep instead of my car is the ability to fold the seats down and sleep in the back) and now my alarm is set for 5:15am so I can go shoot the sunrise a mile up the road at the “Grand Canyon.”
Travel Distance: 130 miles